As fall is quickly approaching, I am sure that all of us are itching to get into baking our favorite fall desserts. For me, the first dessert that came to mind was banana bread. However, I have actually never made it before. So, I knew it was time to learn all about banana bread.
When choosing which recipe to make for any given dessert, the sheer amount of options online can be overwhelming. In order to help you all choose which recipe is right for you, I have made five of the highest reviewed banana bread recipes online. My favorite way to learn about a dessert is through a bake-off!
Banana Bread Recipe Selection Walkthrough
As an amateur baker, I am always looking for ways to learn new things and gain new skills as a baker. So, in order to teach myself the basics I started making 5 internet famous recipes of any bake that I wanted to learn more about. With each recipe I was able to see how different ingredients, cook time, and technique affected the way a bake turns out.
This is how the “Internet Famous Bake-Off” series started on the blog. The way that recipes are selected are based off the number of reviews a recipe receives on the internet. The five recipes with the most reviews online are selected to teach me what I need to know about that bake.
Our Other Bake-Offs
- Gingerbread Cookies
- Sugar Cookies
- Internet Famous Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipes
- Oatmeal Cream Pie
- Pecan Pie
- Pumpkin Pie
- Traeger Desserts
- Buttermilk Biscuits
One cool thing about this bake-off, is that all of these recipes have a lot of reviews and a high star rating average. As a matter of fact, the lowest average rating for a recipe here is 4.8 stars. Four out of five recipes here have 5 star average reviews.
The lowest amount of reviews on recipe here is 2.3k, which is sometimes the highest amount of reviews on a recipe selected for a bake-off. Looks like we have some strong contenders today!
Coming in last place, is the Healthy Banana Bread from Cookie and Kate. While I typically do not included healthy recipes in my bake-offs, I simply had to include this recipe due to the sheer number of reviews it had online. With 2.6k reviews, it is the fourth highest reviewed banana bread recipe I could find.
Typically, this is a high number of reviews even for a non-healthy recipe. With that being said, it is a little unfair to compare a healthy version of a recipe against normal versions. So, just know that this recipe is pretty good, it’s just not as good as the “real” versions out there, as expected.
Best For: Healthy Banana Bread
If you are wanting banana bread, but it needs to be a healthier alternative, this is a great option. It holds up fairly well against the regular options. Just know that the healthy ingredient swaps will result in a loaf that is a little dry and less sweet than the “normal” versions. Unfortunately, we also found there to be a weird aftertaste.
However, this was a very detailed recipe and was very easy to follow, which is always a major plus when it comes to baking. A healthier banana bread was achieved by making several ingredient swaps. The first being the fat replacement which swaps butter for coconut oil. The second being sugar swapped for maple syrup.
The final swap is all-purpose flour for whole wheat flour, which is the primary reason for our dislike for this recipe. Using all whole wheat flour in any bake, is very hard to do successfully. Typically, a combination of whole wheat flour and all-purpose flour is used.
Whole wheat flour has a higher protein and fiber content, which is good for health purposes but bad for baked goods. It results in a heavy and dense loaf due to the lack of gluten formation. It also has a strong flavor that does not always work, depending on the bake.
Coming in fourth place is the best banana bread from Food and Wine with 2.3k reviews. Unfortunately we found this banana bread to be a little stodgy and overall pretty plain. This recipe had no mix-ins or spices added to create a more complex flavor.
Best For: Plain Banana Bread
With no mix-ins like walnuts or chocolate chips, we found this recipe to be a little plain. However, if you are wanting a plain banana bread this might be the recipe for you. It had a good flavor despite being a little stodgy in places.
When compared to the other recipes, this recipe had a higher ratio of banana and sugar used to the amount of flour used. Perhaps if a little less banana was used or if a bit more flour was added, the stodgy texture issue could be resolved.
In third place with 3k reviews, is the best banana bread recipe from The Salty Marshmallow. Personally, I really liked this one! It had a bread-like texture and the perfect hint of banana flavor. Even better, this had a nice saltiness to it, that almost made it taste a bit savory in a good way.
Best For: Bread-Like Banana Bread
We found this recipe to be the most bread-like. It was not overly moist or too stodgy, but also not too dry. This can be attributed to the extra half cup of flour that this recipe uses. And, despite being one of two recipes to use cinnamon in it, this was the only banana bread that you could actually taste the cinnamon.
In second place is the banana bread recipe from NYT Cooking with 8.2k reviews. As the highest reviewed recipe in the lineup, it is no surprise that this recipe lands in the top two in our rankings. NYT Cooking is typically a great resource for outstanding recipes, but they are a subscription based site which can be a barrier to entry for some.
This was the only recipe that called for a topping of any kind. The topping was a mixture of walnut pieces and coarse sugar. It provided a nice contrast in texture and flavor to the banana bread.
Best For: Super Banana Bread
The reason this recipe lands in the number two spot instead of the first spot, is that some people may find this banana bread a little too banana forward in terms of flavor. Now, that may sound crazy to say in a banana bread bake-off, but this recipe used the most bananas by a long shot.
While all of other recipes used around 3 bananas, this one used a whopping 5 bananas! What saves this banana bread loaf from being stodgy in texture is the extra half cup of flour added to combat that. The result is a tender and moist loaf without being too bread-like.
In comparison to the other four recipes, this did have a significantly stronger banana flavor. If that is your thing, then this is the recipe for you! You can expect a nice, moist loaf with great texture and unique topping.
Coming in first place is the moist banana bread recipe from Natasha’s Kitchen with 3.3k reviews. This recipe had the best overall flavor and texture out of the whole bunch. If you make this recipe, you definitely will not be disappointed.
Best For: Classic Banana Bread
If you are looking for the perfect, classic banana bread then this is the recipe for you. This banana bread achieves a nice strong banana flavor, without being too strong. The result is a perfectly moist bread that avoids being stodgy. The addition of the raisin and walnut add-ins, provides a nice contrast in textures and flavors.
Because the structure of this banana bread is perfect, the mix-ins that were added are evenly distributed throughout the batter. Which means that you will get walnuts and raisins in every bite.
While all of these recipes look pretty similar at first glance, they each have their own flavors and textures that makes them unique. It comes down to the ratios of ingredients used and whether or not mix-ins were used. All of these recipes, aside from the healthy version, used the same amount of butter, eggs, salt, and baking soda. The real variation came from the amount of banana, sugar, and flour used.
After making all five, I learned that using more flour will result in a more bread-like banana bread. And, if you use too much sugar and banana it can result in a stodgy texture. So, getting the flour, sugar, and banana ratio right is really important.
Also, while this might be a more personal preference, we learned that mix-ins are really important! They had the important element of added texture and bright spots of contrasting flavors. Walnuts and dark chocolate chips are always a good choice, but you can also opt for raisins if you’re into that sort of thing. I would also like to see more spices like cinnamon, allspice, or cardamom used.
Overall, we enjoyed testing and tasting these banana bread recipes. I hope you were able to learn something along with me and find which banana bread recipe is best for you! Let us know which one you prefer in the comments below. Or you can tell us what dessert bake-off you would like to see next!